Why is Poland increasing military presence on its streets?

U.S.-made Abrams tanks purchased by Poland take part in a massive military parade to celebrate the Polish Army Day.
U.S.-made Abrams tanks purchased by Poland take part in a massive military parade to celebrate the Polish Army Day. Copyright Czarek Sokolowski/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved
By Euronews
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Some experts say it is all part of a political campaign, others say it is a question of national security.


In Poland, the presence of the military in public spaces has increased significantly.

Politicians put on green shirts and visit borders and military bases. This year, the celebrations of the Army Day lasted several days and ended with a great military parade in Warsaw.

Experts estimate that it was the most expensive Army Day in history.

The military has become one of the most important topics in the country.

Opinions on whether this is due to a real security threat or just part of a political campaign before the upcoming elections are divided.

Czarek Sokolowski/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved
Representatives of allied U.S. troops march in a massive military parade that was to show NATO member Poland's defense potential as war is raging in neighbouring Ukraine.Czarek Sokolowski/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved

"If you want peace, prepare for war. As far as financial and human capabilities allow, which also have to be taken into account, we need to keep defence in mind all the time, and defence is the modernity of the army," said Przemyslaw, a Polish national, as he attended the military parade with his son.

Experts' opinions are also divided: some say that the presence of the army in public life today is justified and that the authorities' reactions are adequate.

"In the ranking of social trust, the army ranks high. In addition, the outbreak of war in Ukraine makes citizens watch the situation with great concern. And here, the appropriate steps have been taken," said Beata Gorka-Winter, a security expert at the University of Warsaw.

If you want peace, prepare for war
Polish citizen

"Fighters of the Wagner group have appeared in Belarus, they are putting pressure on the borders, and we do expect all sorts of incidents, including those of a military nature. Therefore, the government cannot ignore it," she added.

Other experts point out that the army and tensions in the region are used for internal political purposes.

"We are dealing with a political and electoral campaign use of a real threat. This government is playing, using the army to ensure security. Around this, politics is made, but this has nothing to do with security, it is to help the authorities maintain the power. Regarding the constitution, this should not be the case - the army should be apolitical, and it is very clearly politicised," explained Jaroslaw Kociszewski, a security expert at Kolegium Nowa Europa Wschodnia, Stratpoints.

Czarek Sokolowski/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved
People wait for a massive military parade during the Polish Army Day, which commemorates the 1920 battle in which Polish troops defeated advancing Bolshevik forces, in Warsaw.Czarek Sokolowski/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved

Those who did not go to the military parade point to its political nature.

"The organisers, i.e. the government, and the president, are certainly not those who are close to me, they actually work to my disadvantage, and I try to distance myself from their decisions. I watched the speech of both the president and the Minister of Defence, and it was very political, very "as in the election programme", so there was “spitting” at the opposition and their actions, well, so this is not the Poland I would like," said Maciej Przygoda.

Poland is a strongly polarised country, and when it comes to the military it is no different. But despite divided opinions, the army will remain an important topic of the election campaign.

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